The One-Year Anniversary of This Blog
Take that, Eric Rasmussen from one year ago. You said, I heard you say it, "I'll start this blog, but I know I'm just going to end up ignoring it." Proved you wrong.
The lake that inspired manuscript #3
To mark the first year of this effort, here's an update on my writing progress. Writers navigating the publishing labyrinth love reading about other writers' progress. There are gobs of places to read people's success stories, not so many places to compare one's data to those who are still fighting the noble fight. So, here are my stats.
Since making the decision to pursue writing fiction as a professional, I have written three complete manuscripts (about 900 pages), seven short stories (about 140 pages), fourteen original creative nonfiction blog posts, a few articles for Volume One. I write just about every day. A lot of it is bad. Some of it is okay.
My goal was a blog post every two weeks, for a total of 26 posts. I hit 35, and one of them, Things I Left in My Classroom Over the Summer, hit 2300 views (thanks Reddit, I know you're not big on the blogs). My Volume One pieces have earned much positive feedback from friends, family, and strangers. Manuscript one earned one partial request. Manuscript two received seventeen total requests. Manuscript three enticed eight agents to look at more of the work, with numerous queries still outstanding, and a selection in a Twitter pitch contest (thanks Michelle!) Over fifty short story submissions with my name on them are being considered by various journals and websites. Through all of this I've made connections with all sorts of folks in the publishing world, including a handful of critique partners who I value profoundly. Lots of real-life, non-digital friendships have been strengthened through these writing efforts and a phenomenal writing group.
I used to waste a lot of time on the internet and watching HGTV shows. Now I'm working on something, towards something, and no matter what else, that feels good.
In the story, under this ridge, something exciting happens
93 rejections on manuscript one. 70 rejections on manuscript two. 51 rejections on number three, so far. A dozen rejections from short story and literary journals. For all the effort, I have not yet technically published any fiction.
I enrolled in an MFA program (Augsburg College, yo!), starting June of 2016. Manuscript number four sits prettily at 200 pages, and my goal is to finish by the New Year. Short story ideas abound. This blog is an actual thing. Motivation and hope persist.
The unbelievable, epic, heartbreaking ending takes place on a frozen lake, much like this
When I started this trip, I thought what I wanted sat just over the next hill. Two states later, I'm still driving, convinced that we'll get there any minute now. If I am epically, monumentally wrong, I'll hit the ocean eventually, and it sure has been a pretty drive.
This blog, year two, stay tuned...